In my bloodcolored suit, bouquet of wilted white
lilies in hand, as if they meant something, I stand
on the stoop listening to the raindrops tap on my hat
as the soft bong of your doorbell fades down the long
hallway of your house. I am nervous. This is only
the vestibule, I tell myself, as somewhere in the cool
of the city behind me yellow lamps are lit and water goes
hissing through pipes, under walls hung with old tintypes
of buildings standing stitched to the sky: if only the world were
so tapestried, and what we meant by the placement of certain
objects was understood, the horrible project of arranging
made clear. But the sky changes color every night here,
it is more than common knowledge. Beneath its blueblack I stand
marooned in my bloodcolored suit. This is only the vestibule,
as somewhere far above me a wall holds back the waters…
And where are you in all of this? The long hallway of your house
leads to a yard where the grass grows up around an old wheelbarrow
and a washtub in which a turtle resides on a rock. You sit and rub
its shell and whisper, “Tartarus, Tartarus” into its ancient head.
But it cares not to see, retreating in its famous way to some
inner chamber, some inner sea.
All Dogs Are Wolves
Leaving town, all gone broken
houses by the river, the habit
of words and tomes and tokens
grown old where home was static.
How I junked a million cars,
gauges set to wander, heedless
of gravity and physics and the stars,
as if what they gauged was freeness
and not the cage of being lost.
Thinking all trees were oaks
behind veils of spanish moss,
I left on a wheel of spokes
and ribbons, eager for a meal,
for the taste of a woman’s fingers
on fruit that has been peeled
and pushed through lips to linger
in a dry mouth. I put my trust
in hunger as the highway conspired
to leave me leavened, with the dusk
playing heaven above the wires.
I thought that birds thought that angels,
for their wings, laid eggs like them,
nesting and flying, and that angels
had similar thoughts of men,
who, upright, skyward with their words
and tomes and tokens, only wanted
something more like the birds
whom they thought angels haunted.
Alone now, the blacker air richer,
perpendicular to nothing, what matters
about the houses by the river?
Broken glass is seed to scatter.
I couldn’t dream it more obscure,
something buried, something planted,
something leeched from something pure.
All dogs are wolves, hearts slanted
in their chests.
Matthew Raymond has a BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He’s the author the chapbook ‘The Muddy Season’ (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). His stories and poems have appeared in December, Free State Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Parcel, Permafrost, Euphony, and other places.